The Geostrategy of Computer Chips (Semiconductors)

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Title: The Geostrategy of Computer Chips (Semiconductors)
Authors: Saalbach, Klaus
Contributions by: Saalbach, Klaus
Abstract: After a long-term dominance of the perspective of the cyberspace as a virtual world, security experts are gaining a more and more physical understanding: who controls the devices and the cables, also controls the data in them. Meanwhile, it was realized that the production of computers and digital devices has critical bottlenecks and that the control of critical elements like rare metals and semiconductors (computer chips, computing chips, microprocessors) as core element of each digital device could be used for geostrategic purposes. Without advanced chips, further progress of digital technology is slowed down or even impossible. For this reason, an intense competition between US and China has taken place. The market analysis shows that US and its Asian allies (Japan, South Korea and Taiwan) dominate most of the chip production steps while China controls the materials needed for the production of the surrounding computers and digital devices, the rare metals. Since 2018, the United States stepwise restricted the export of semiconductors and related manufacturing equipment to China. Amongst other activities, the United States were able to block the selling of the so-called EUV technology to China which makes it in future for China quite difficult or even impossible to produce advanced chips (and thus advanced computers). On 07 Oct 2022, these restrictions were significantly expanded to restrict Chinas ability to obtain advanced computing chips, develop and maintain supercomputers, and manufacture advanced semiconductors. This step could significantly slow down Chinas technological development for years and China is now facing hard strategic choices and decisions.
Citations: Course material for the Course Geostrategy and Geopolitics
Subject Keywords: Geostrategy; Semiconductors; Computer chips
Issue Date: 24-Oct-2022
License name: Attribution 3.0 Germany
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Type of publication: Arbeitspapier [workingPaper]
Appears in Collections:FB01 - Hochschulschriften

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